The Tax Bill – Murder Most Foul

You’ve read the analyses by bi-partisan specialists including the Congressional Budget office. You know that Republican “talking points” about how the Tax bill helps the middle class and billionaires like Donald J Trump lose money under it are a “bunch of hooey,” otherwise known as lies.

This bill is simply Robin Hood in reverse. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.

In time, when a Democratic Congress and President take office, that can be reversed.

But what about the Americans who may die because of this bill? What can be done to bring back their very lives?

By repealing the Mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act millions of poor Americans may not be able to afford the premium increases that must come when young, healthy people won’t of their own accord join the insurance pool. That’s what the bill does with no “fix,” no replacement that will continue to make insurance affordable in sight.

Make no mistake.

This bill commits murder!

And while  Democrats once back in power will reverse that also, for many Americans it may be too late. They will be dead.

I am reminded of what the late Justice Thurgood Marshall once told me in an interview while he was still on the Court. He was unalterably opposed to the death penalty and explained his opposition this way.

“They say it’s okay, it’s not too bad. But what if you make a mistake and kill an innocent man. What do you say to him…

…Oops, sorry?

Death is so final.”

And if people who can no longer afford health insurance die because of it, what will Donald J Trump and his band of Republican enablers say to them?

Oops, sorry?

And if that happens, what do we say to the murderers?

 

A Coup Against America?

The Donald J Trump campaign to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation before it is complete has reached a fever pitch suggesting that despite his denials, Trump and his supporters are attempting to construct a rationale for firing Mueller soon, some Capitol Hill insiders believe this week.

Leading this effort is the notorious White House “lap dog” Fox Cable News. Here is the Washington Post’s partial list of the Fox contribution:

“Fox News commentators have called the investigation “illegitimate” and “corrupt.” Sean Hannity charged earlier this month that Mueller has put the country “on the brink of becoming a banana republic.”

“Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment and threats. It’s like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of the night banging through your door.”

Tom Fitton, president of the conservative organization Judicial Watch, made the same comparison on Fox News on Wednesday, saying, “Forget about shutting down Mr. Mueller. Do we need to shut down the FBI because it was turned into a KGB-type operation by the Obama administration?”

Apparently these strong words weren’t strong enough. Saturday night, Fox suggested that the Mueller probe might be “a coup in America.”

Fox News host Jesse Watters told viewers the investigation into Trump’s campaign “has been crooked from the jump.”

“But the scary part is we may now have proof the investigation was weaponized to destroy his presidency for partisan political purposes and to disenfranchise millions of American voters,” Watters said. “Now, if that’s true, we have a coup on our hands in America.”

As counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway spoke to Watters, a chyron appeared on the screen with the words “a coup in America?”

No, my friends, if there is a coup underway it is a Coup Against America. Against our nation’s Constitutional system of law and justice so that  if Mueller’s investigation should reach a finding of wrong doing it will never reach the public and if it should reach the public it will not be believed.

As the ABC News “Watergate Correspondent” I watched and reported on Richard Nixon’s effort to escape justice and there are some similarities and some differences between then and now.

As the American System assembled facts and closed in on Nixon, he and his supporters also twisted and turned, covered up and lied and lashed out at his tormentors (particularly the  press). But there are some big differences  between the Nixon/Trump cases,

First, though Nixon had won re-election by a large margin, the American public when presented with the facts as they were uncovered,  looked at the facts, thought about what was being learned and individually began to make up their own minds about who was lying and who was not, about whether Nixon was guilty of abuse of power or not. By the time the House Judiciary Committee had reported three Articles of Impeachment and the House was prepared to send Nixon’s fate to the Senate for trial, the senior leaders of the Republican party, gauging the public’s verdict already in, told Nixon he had no chance in the Senate and the best course was for him to resign.

Second, when Nixon fired Archibald Cox, the Special Prosecutor investigating him on October 20, 1973, people who had hitherto still been on the fence understood why Nixon had fired Cox, understood that you only fire the investigator when you fear the outcome of the investigation, when the investigator is getting too close to finding the facts of your guilt.

Innocent people welcome an Investigation by legal and competent authority; guilty people fear it.

So, if Trump does fire Mueller, will the public react in the same way today as it did when Saturday, October  20, 1973, was the tipping point that ensured Nixon’s doom?

I would like to think so but there is a third difference to consider.

Third, and this ties directly to the first point,  there was no Fox News or its equivalent as a Nixon propaganda megaphone to convince people that “up is down,” “black is white,” or the “dog ate the homework.”

Actually, the evidence does not show that Fox is persuading a majority of the Country that Trump is a great president, the subject of a “witch hunt (his words)” with the help of the FBI, an organization “in tatters (His words).”

Far from it.

But what Fox is doing is attempting to persuade its faithful Trump listeners that Trump is the victim. And with dangerous possible consequences for our Country by attacking and attempting to de-legitimize the very Institutions on which the foundation of our freedoms and liberties depend.

Nixon did not have this propaganda machine, run by people who do it in the pursuit of profit, not truth. Instead, Nixon was subject to a system that worked, in the words of the ancient phrase about the mills of the Gods “…grinding slowly but exceedingly fine.”  And the public accepted the findings.

Fox, by attacking the Investigators and law enforcement institutions is helping to harden Trump supporters against a possible finding of evidence and facts even before any conclusions are reached.

And consider the danger in doing that. If law, justice and the people charged with enforcing those safeguards are destroyed in the cause of protecting a potential guilty man from the consequences of his own guilty actions,  which one of us will be safe?

I am reminded of the great scene in the movie “A Man for All Seasons”  in which the late Paul Scofield playing Sir Thomas Moore instructs his future son-in-law of the danger of tearing down laws even if you do that to get at the devil.

Here’s the link:

This is a perilous time but I believe we will come through it with our Country and its Institutions intact. However, a great many people will have been hurt who may never be able to recover.

“Sad?”

No, criminal!

Alabama Is (still) Alabama

There was good news and bad news from Alabama Tuesday in the Special Senate election.

The good news was that Democrat Doug Jones beat Republican Roy Moore.

The bad news was that Alabama is still Alabama

Consider that the majority of Alabama voters are white and the  exit polling tells us that despite Roy Moore’s being homophobic, bigoted in so many ways, fond of the days of black slavery, finds the Constitutional amendments that gave citizenship to blacks and the right to vote to women distasteful and despite credible testimony about his early life as a sexual predator, despite all this, in this election:

-Moore won white women as well as white men.

-Moore won among educated as well as uneducated whites.

Moore won the white vote decisively

And, by the way, despite the accusations of sexual misconduct that rained down on Moore he won the votes of 80% of the Christian Evangelicals who voted.

What is clear is that if a regular, garden variety white conservative male had been the Republican candidate Democrat Jones would have been beaten badly…as has every other Democrat who ran for the Senate from Alabama since 1992.

Yes, Jones ran a very good, smart campaign but he won because Moore was so terrible in so many ways (hold the nose, beyond the pale ways) that it galvanized the opposition to him and minimized his advantages of being white and a Republican.

African Americans voted in sizeable numbers for Jones and enough white voters either crossed over, wrote in another name, or stayed home to make the difference.

That is, indeed, good news and those voters should be commended and thanked.

However, when the final returns lifted Jones to the winner’s circle, some commentators rhapsodized that the results demonstrated there is now a “new” Alabama.

Wrong.

The State is changing, thanks mainly to higher percentages of African American and other minority voters and, yes, a growing  number of young white men and women who are “throwing off” the civil war prejudices and bigotry of their ancestors.

But Tuesday’s election does not herald the arrival of a new age.

Not yet.

Alabama is (still) Alabama.

A Story of Crime and Punishment in Arizona

Here is a story so horrifying that it must bring tears to the eyes of any but the most hard hearted.

It is a story from Arizona but it could and is happening in much of the rest of America.

As reported in the Washington Post (and elsewhere), it is the story of how a policeman in Mesa, Arizona, named Philip “Mitch” Brailsford shot to death a man named Daniel Shaver two years ago and has now been found innocent of all charges connected with the shooting by a jury in Maricopa County, Arizona.

Here is what I hope you’ll do. Read the story, then watch the video of what happened from a police camera on the scene.

Here is the link:

http://wapo.st/2kcyD5N?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.b8b66bfd602f

The jury watched the video which shows Shaver trying desperately to obey police commands as he crawls as instructed toward the police who tell him if he doesn’t do exactly as ordered he will be shot

Shaver begs for his life as he crawls but it doesn’t help.

He is shot to death in a fusillade of bullets from Brailsford’s AR-15 assault weapon on which was etched the words “You’re F—ed.”

Show it to others. Then ask yourself and others these questions:

Why, really, did officer Brailsford shoot Daniel Shaver?

Why would that Arizona jury find that Brailsford acted properly?

These two questions shout themselves. They really demand an answer. The growing divide and mutual animosity between this Country’s police and  African American community must be bridged but never can be as long as questions like those go unanswered and unresolved.

Yes, it all makes you cry.

-for Shaver who met a fate he didn’t deserve.

-for Brailsford who acted as he did.

-for the Jury which exonerated Brailsford.

And for the rest of us who have not done enough to see to it that the need for such crying stop!

Trump vs Us, the Amish

As Robert Mueller’s Investigation closes in on Donald J Trump and his merry band of selfish thugs, the Trump machine is hard at work attempting to de-legitimize the Investigator and his Investigation.

Hard at work attempting to convince the public that Trump is not the Villain the evidence may well portray but the Victim of what he  calls a “witch hunt.”

With Trump denouncing the F B I as an organization in “tatters.”

With Fox’s Sean Hannity  branding Mueller, who as the longest serving FBI director after J Edgar Hoover drew bi-partisan praise for his integrity, “a disgrace to the American justice system.”

With top Republicans on Capitol Hill making efforts to de-legitimize and deflect the Investigation, the question is what can we, you and I, do to defeat these efforts?

I thought of the 1985 movie “Witness.”

We can be  Amish!

“Witness” starred Harrison Ford as a Philadelphia policemen who waged a one-man fight to save a young Amish boy from being killed by corrupt Police Department senior officials.

The boy, using the lavatory, had inadvertently witnessed a murder in the lavatory by corrupt police officers. Later, he pointed one of them out to Ford. When the corrupt officers realized Ford was on to them, Ford, the boy, and the boy’s mother fled to the Pennsylvania Amish community for refuge.

The corrupt officers found them and while two of them died in their attempt to kill the “Witness” the third put a gun to the head of the boy’s mother and Ford threw down his own gun in an effort to save their lives.

However, a patriarch of the Amish community had rung the bell which summoned  neighbors for help, and they had come running from their fields and homes. And when the corrupt officer marched Ford, the boy and his mother, out of the shed at gunpoint, he was met by a solid wall of these Amish witnesses.

Ford asked, “what are you going to do, shoot (us all)?”

The corrupt officer surveyed the great phalanx of Amish standing against him and realized it was over for him.

He put down his gun and gave up!

We must be “witnesses” for Mueller and his Investigators, in overwhelming numbers we must show the “corrupt cop” and his henchmen that it’s over, that they cannot win.

There is strength in standing for righteousness. We’ve all seen it in the Civil Rights movement in this Country. And I’ve seen it in a personal experience.

In 1994, a team from the ABC News magazine program “Prime Time Live” found a former Nazi SS Captain named Eric Priebke hiding in Argentina. In a sidewalk interview with me, he explained why he and other Gestapo officers in Rome had shot and killed 335 Italian civilians. Hitler had ordered it and he said he was “just following orders.”

When we put the story on the air, Italy demanded Priebke’s extradition. He was turned over to Italy where a three officer military court tried him for the murders.

Guess what? The Italian judges said they understood why military men had to follow orders and they found Priebke “not guilty.”

But he was never released.

That night, literally hundreds of thousands of Italians in Rome and other cities took to the streets in dramatic protest of the verdict. The Government kept Priebke under arrest and re-tried him in a civilian court which found him guilty and, since Italy has no death penalty for any crime, he was sentenced to life in prison.

We must make our protest to the Trump & Company tactics to escape justice known. We must do it in overwhelming numbers.

Write Congress your opposition to attempts to thwart and derail Mueller’s Investigation. post it on Facebook and other social media. Write and email your friends and associates, by all legal means let the thugs know now that they cannot win (unless the evidence carefully and objectively gathered turns out to be in their favor.)

“I hope you are all Republicans, ” quipped Ronald Reagan as the doctors prepared to remove a bullet from his chest.

“We are all Republicans, today,” replied Dr. Joseph Giordano (a Democrat).

Today, let us all be Amish!

 

 

 

 

 

Trump on Jerusalem – Dangerous Gobbledygook

Having arrived at the point of  a possible thermonuclear showdown with North Korea, Donald J Trump has now turned his attention to blowing up the middle East.

That may be too harsh.  The conflict between Shia and Sunni Muslims, the rise of ISIL terrorism, the Syrian problem, the Kurdish question and any number of other tinder boxes already in one stage or another of explosion can continue to “blow up” the Middle East apart from anything Donald J Trump does.

But what Trump did  today was certainly a huge set back in eventually eliminating another of those tinder boxes, namely the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

What he did sounds so reasonable, almost innocuous but far from it.

He said: “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel…Today we finally acknowledge the obvious. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality.”

Reality in that Israel does occupy Jerusalem and claims it as it’s Capital. But that is not a “reality” recognized by the Palestinians and Arab Nations throughout the Middle East. This difference of views is one of the major sticking points that has prevented a peace settlement since the State of Israel was born.

In 1978, at Camp David, President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Anwar el Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin took a giant step toward agreeing on a set of Accords as a frame work for an overall peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

But disagreements within those accords  continued. One was over a freeze on building new Israeli settlements on the West Bank. Another was the status of the city of Jerusalem.

Begin said Jerusalem was Israel’s Capital, Sadat said Arab interests within at least a portion of the city must be protected (as the Capital of a Palestinian State) and Carter said the United States was not going to side with either position believing that the final status of Jerusalem must be negotiated between the parties.

Ever since, U S policy has been to act as an “honest broker,” helping the parties try to reach agreements on the issues that separated them – including Jerusalem. Sure, over the years the U S has proposed various formulas for the parties to consider as they wished, pointing out where “trade offs” might work, but never taking one side against the other as U S policy.

Until today.

Today Trump did that. Backed Israel on one of the major sticking points.

Or has he?

He also said today: “We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, (Bolding added) or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved,”

What?

He says, in effect, I declare that Jerusalem is  the Capital of Israel, lock stock and barrel unless, of course, the parties agree otherwise. Come on, Donald  J Trump, you can not mean both parts and although F Scott Fitzgerald famously postulated “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to  hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and  still retain the ability to functionI think both sides will fail to discern an intelligence and only call that “Gobbledygook.”

If all this “mumbo jumbo” is meant to make it look like he’s fulfilling a campaign pledge when he’s really not, does he really think he can fool the Israelis and their strong supporters here in the U S? They’re not stupid!

But there’s more.

Having convinced  many people that he really meant the first part – Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu certainly seems to believe it – Trump added this to today’s announcement:

“The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to forge such an agreement. ”

Trump is saying he still believes he can be an “Honest Broker” whom both sides can trust despite the fact that he has sided with Israel on Jerusalem.

But who else will believe that? And if the United States has now become an advocate for one side’s  position rather than a mediator to help facilitate agreement forged by the two sides, who will take our place as a mediator in this  up-to-now intractable and deadly dispute?

Russia?

 

Albert Einstein Was Right – AGAIN!

In an earlier post, I quoted Albert Einstein’s saying that “the difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.” And then went on to argue that was certainly true when it comes to Donald J Trump.

Einstein’s more famous saying is the subject of my blog today – “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Which brings us to the Republican tax bill(s) which have now passed both Houses of Congress and after a Conference Committee “marriage” will be afflicted on the Nation and all of us in it.

Here is an article worth reading by economist Robert A McElvaine  who has made one of this main interests a study of our (and thanks to us, the World’s) great depression of the 1930s.

He says the Republican party policy of enriching the wealthy in the belief (hope) that the wealthy, thus further enriched, will “trickle down” their riches to those of us less fortunate was one of the major factors that brought on that great depression. And, he says, the good old GOP has never let go of its policy and is clearly at it again in the tax bill.

http://wapo.st/2AfjOcy?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.7b416eeb5af4

I remember many years ago having an amiable argument with Arthur Laffer, an economist who in 1979, drew a curve on a napkin at the old Occidental restaurant in Washington.

Laffer said the curve was to demonstrate that excessive taxation leads to killing the ability of business to create jobs (you kill the “goose” that lays the golden eggs of jobs) and if you lower taxes consumers have more to spend, businesses expand jobs to fill the need and in fact, with a lower tax rate since more people can now participate in the “good life,” you broaden the base of taxpayers and thus bring in enoung money to the treasury even with a lower rate.

Well that theory does make some sense but the thing is, at some point if you cut taxes, you have cut too much.

“Where,” I asked Laffer, “is that point?”

He didn’t know saying, in effect, we would know it when we saw it. Meaning when we had cut too much, we might then adjust the rates but of course if, like the legendary Titanic example, it might well be too late if we had cut too much.

Ronald Reagan’s team latched on to the Laffer theory and curve and Mr. Reagan used it during his successful 1980 presidential campaign. His Primary opponent Georg H W Bush called it “voodoo economics.” But Reagan was elected and pushed through a big tax cut.

Guess what?  After the first year, Reagan’s people having crunched the numbers looked into the “abyss” of the Laffer curve; they realized they had cut too much.

So they persuaded President Reagan we needed to raise fees for the use of National Parks and such, we needed to plug certain tax “loopholes” and (since you couldn’t get Mr. Reagan to sign on to actually raising the tax rates) you needed to put in place certain “revenue enhancers (ho, ho, a euphemism for “taxes”).

The president cheerfully signed on and one third of the big tax cut of 1981 was rescinded. But, it was not enough to keep three trillion dollars of deficit added to the National Debt by the time  Reagan left office (when Jimmy Carter left office the National Debt, accumulated since the birth of the nation, stood just under one trillion dollars).

And as Robert McElvaine says in his article, the GOP simply keeps doing the same thing again and again and again and expects the different result of “trickle down” tax cuts to help all the “little people” of the Country.

Or do they really expect it to eventually work? I think many of the Republicans who voted for the new tax bill(s) know better but simply want to take care of their donors selfish needs.

So, as we say here in the Southwest, “Pray for Rain” and while you’re at it, pray that whatever emerges as a new post-Trump GOP regains its sanity.

 

Michael Flynn Cops A Plea: Is Trump Trembling?

Oh, how sweet it is to replay Lt. General (USA Retired) Michael Flynn leading the chant of “lock her up” at the Republican Convention last year.  Put this on your browser address line, then enjoy.

“If I did a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail,” he shouted from the podium. Wait a bit, General, wait a bit  You may get your turn.

But Flynn is not the main target here.

Clearly from what we know from the public prints he was almost certainly facing a possible indictment on other, more serious charges. Except he “bargained” for lighter treatment in return for information about others he had and was willing to disclose under oath if called on to do so.

Before Special Counsel Robert Mueller agreed to “go easy” on Flynn (and his son?) in return for information offered he obviously evaluated it for it’s quality – how important in the overall investigation, how solid factually and against whom?

Surely not “three people in the mail room” Flynn can testify “J-walked” across Connecticut Avenue heading toward the Russian Embassy.

It would be naïve if one does not understand that the main targets in the effort to discover the truth about accusations of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians are campaign officials on Flynn’s level or higher.

Ultimately this investigation must attempt to answer the question: Was there Trump Campaign collusion with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton and if so, did Donald J Trump himself participate in or condone it.

So, is Trump Trembling tonight? I don’t know.

If he isn’t, it is because he really is innocent of any illegal or improper involvement with Russian election tampering.

Or, if he is involved but isn’t trembling, that can only be because he is so “cock sure” of his ability to ride out any “storm” or to beat any “rap” that he is  confident the law or an outraged pubic majority cannot touch him.

Not him!

If it should be the latter, he is dead wrong. Our system of legal and public judgement works. As a reporter who covered Washington for fifty two years, I saw it work time and time again.

When Nixon first de-rided a “third rate burglary,” when Reagan first said there was “no foundation” to the story of selling Arms to Iran for the exchange of hostages, when Clinton first said he had never had sex with “that woman, Miss Lewinsky” the system forced the truth from them.

And there were many more instances in which I saw the System thwart the “high and  mighty’s”  attempt to escape truth and justice.

So, if Donald J Trump has done nothing illegal, he need not tremble because of information Flynn or anyone else gives Robert Mueller.

On the other hand, if he is involved in acts illegal or improper, no matter what he thinks he can get away with, I have news for him:

You can’t. Our system still works and you are already finished, just too vain or too stupid to know it.

 

Albert Einstein Was Right

Albert Einstein – what a brain, what a mind.

E=MC2, was he right? Does Energy Equal Mass Times the Speed of Light Squared? I suppose so, but how would I know? I got beyond the multiplication tables in school but not far beyond.

But I do know from experience and observation that Einstein was right when he observed:

“The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. “

Right, there is no limit to one’s stupidity (your faithful blogger here included).

Donald J Trump is many things – mean, uncaring, ignorant, narcissistic,  vengeful, vulgar, a liar and the list goes on into ad infinitum.

But above all else, Donald J Trump is stupid!

Why else would one man do so many things every day that, if left unchecked, will destroy this Country, destroy a way of life for most Americans that have made us the envy of the World, destroy himself?

Someone might say he is Evil, not Stupid, and is brilliantly executing a plan of destruction for destruction’s sake.

Not so.

Steve Bannon has a plan, is following a course  designed to destroy the Country as it exists today. Many of us think that in so doing Bannon is Evil.

But Donald J Trump has no plan; he is simply fumbling along from tweet to tweet, from stumble to stumble, from one incoherent thought to another, often contradictory, never firm, usually ludicrous and laughable. And since he is president, dangerous. But not by design.

At this point some of you may remember my initial promise that I intend to conduct a civil discussion of matters here and not call people “names.”

I have not called Donald J Trump a “name;” I have described his characteristics and actions as we can all see them. He is the things and has done the things I have described so let me lay out just a small amount of the evidence to back up what I say; if time and space permitted I could deliver volumes more.

Trump demands personal loyalty of the FBI director and when it is not forthcoming in the form of acquiesce in shutting down an Investigation, fires him.  When the Attorney General properly and on the advice of Justice Department ethics officials “recuses” himself from an Investigation, Trump castigates him in public and complains he is not being loyal to the president.  Those two official’s loyalty is owed to their oath to defend the Constitution, not to the president (does he not know this or simply not care).

Trump praises a House-passed repeal of the Affordable Care act, then tells associates it is “mean, cold hearted and a-son-of-a-bitch.” He demands the Congress repeal the Act no matter what happens to the Country just as long as he gets a “win.”

Trump works to expel the DACA children, then makes a deal with Democratic leaders to allow them to stay, then reverses himself  in the face of pressure from his Base.

Trump tells his Secretary of State he’s wasting his time trying to negotiate with North Korea then on his Asian trip declares he is making progress in negotiating with North Korea.

Trump says he believes Vladimir Putin is sincere in his denials Russia tried to interfere with our election, and calls the top U S Intelligence Chiefs who disagree “political hacks.” Only to grudgingly backtrack after the massive domestic “blowback” from such nonsense.

Trump says “I said it” when confronted with the Access Hollywood tape recording of his vulgar bragging that he grabs women by their private parts but now tells associates the tape is a fake that calls for an investigation.

Trump declares his predecessor in the Oval Office “bugged” his office building in New York. When asked for a scintilla of evidence to back up this accusation, he offers none but insists it is true.

Trump praises Philippine president Duterte who makes no effort to hide his disregard for law and due process when he encourages the murder of thousands of suspected drug dealers and political opponents. Trump’s spokes person says Trump briefly raised the subject of Human Rights in their talk; Duterte’s spokesman said it never came up.

Trump withdraws our Country from the Paris Climate Accord, the Pacific Trade Pact and  threatens to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Iranian Nuclear Agreement. He demands that NATO members pay what they owe without apparently knowing that the commitment is to spend a certain percentage on their own military, not send a check to the NATO Headquarters. He threatens to withdraw the U S from NATO if they don’t.

Trump threatens the Constitutional safeguards of Freedom of Speech and the Press. He encourages demonstrators against him to be “roughed up,” calls all reporting he doesn’t like “fake news,” tweets mock pictures of himself destroying news organizations he doesn’t like. All the while repeating false stories and conspiracy theories, twice having been “dressed down” for so doing in matters concerning Britain by the British Prime Minister.

Trump says there are some “good people” among a group of self described Nazis and racial and homophobic bigots and says there is  “blame on both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville when such people marched.

Trump champions the cause of White Supremacy in a land built on the phrase E Pluribus Unam (does he know what that means or simply disagrees with its premise) and threatens to ban people from the Country on the basis of their religion (a threat to the “establishment clause” in the 1st Constitutional Amendment – does he know what that is or just doesn’t care).

Trump soils the splendor and dignity of the Office of President by his vulgarity of language (“Crooked” Hillary, “Liddle Bob” Corker) and by his violent hatred of his critics and opponents such as demanding that his political opponent Hillary Clinton be investigated and jailed (with no evidence shown to require it) and disparagement of John McCain, a true American hero, for being shot down while fighting for our Country, something Trump managed to avoid by obtaining five Vietnam war deferments.

Trump refuses to place his holdings in a truly blind trust but instead enjoys personally profiting in his businesses as a result of holding the presidential office.

Trump defends Roy Moore of Alabama from charges by four women of sexual misconduct by saying that Moore “flatly denies it.” Of course, that is Trump’s defense against the accusations of ten women that he sexual abused them.

Trump was the prime mover of the accusation that Barack Obama was not Constitutionally eligible to be president on the grounds that he was not born in the United States but in Kenya. Finally, Trump conceded Obama was born in the United States, claiming it was a Clinton aide who originated the accusation and that he, Trump, should be praised here at the end for ferreting out the falsity of the accusation. Period, end of story? Well, no, as those of us who used to be in the news business would say “This just in” – Trump is now telling associates that he still suspects that Obama was not born in the United States!

Trump lies – about the size of his inaugural crowd in the face of photographic evidence to the contrary, about the number of times he has been on the cover of Time magazine when the number is not in doubt, about his not benefiting from the tax bill when plainly he will, about his electoral college win as the biggest since Reagan (if you don’t count Bush 41, Clinton and Obama which were all bigger than Trump’s), in saying that “the FBI person reports directly to the President of the United States” when in fact he reports directly to the Attorney General, and on and on and on the lies. Or is it something else?

Is Trump delusional, mentally ill, does not realize he deals in fiction, not fact? Does not recognize that approximately two thirds of the Country thinks he is incompetent, a joke, is afraid of him, is dedicated to his removal from the presidency?

We are now in the “weeds” of personality disorder, mental illness and such, but whatever is going on behind the golden locks results in a finding of STUPIDITY.

And why is it stupid to do and say the things he does? Forget the rest of us, the Country, the World.

It is stupid because all that he is and does wars against the very things that clearly mean the most to him – to be a winner, to be thought smart, to be idolized, admired above all others, to go down in history as the Greatest, the most successful president this Country has ever seen. Move over Washington, stand aside Lincoln, sit back Roosevelt. Trump Triumphant!

He is working hard each day (unknowing, apparently) to make certain he will achieve none of that. Clearly, to date, he is according to American standards of competency, dedication to our values and decency, the worst president it has ever been our misfortune to have had.

Yes, Albert Einstein, Genius has it’s limits, Trump’s stupidity has none. It rolls on like an ocean and will consume him, destroy him (prey God, not the rest of us with him)

Trump’s Ocean (of Stupidity) as described in Lord Byron’s poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, will destroy him.

“Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean, roll.  Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;  Man marks the earth with ruin; his control Stops with the shore; upon the watery plain  The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain   A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own, When, for a moment, like a drop of rain  He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan, Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.”

RIP Donald J Trump

When Men “Behave Badly” Can They Still Be Loved?

This morning the news came that NBC Today host Matt Lauer has been fired for “inappropriate  sexual behavior in the workplace.” A woman had come forward to report this to the NBC management on Monday. What she said Lauer had done that required his termination in management’s judgement, we do not know at this point

Today co-host Samantha Guthrie delivered the news of Lauer’s firing at the beginning  of the program. She was distraught; they had worked together for years in harmony and mutual affection.

I was struck by her anguished question after she delivered the news..

She asked “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly? I don’t know the answer to that.”

Good question and no single or easy answer.

You could decide that no matter how you had felt before, the revelation of bad conduct requires the person be “cast out,” made to pay the price of banishment from society for misdeeds that can not be condoned or forgiven (in addition to any punishment that is required by a Court of Law).

Or, you might consider an alternative as described in the Bible, Luke 15:11-20-24 (KJV). Here Jesus tells the story, a parable, of how a son demanded  his inheritance from his father, left home, squandered it in wild living and when he had nothing left, not even food to eat, came begging back.

Jesus said:  “But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. 21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. 22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: 23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.”

Which should it be for your friend Matt Lauer, Savannah? What punishment fits the crime. And what is love if it cannot be reconciled with a loved one’s misdeed? I can’t tell you, that’s up to you but you might think about the meaning of “love” and how in the case of the parable the Father reconciled his love for his son with his son’s misdeeds.

As the revelations against men who have “behaved badly” (or worse )finally, and properly, pour out from women who have suffered in silence for so long, there is in some quarters the cry across the land of a vengeful “off with his head,” no matter who, no matter what, no matter when, no matter how sincerely contrite the miscreant is.

That is wrong.

That certainly does not comply with any sense of justice  being meted out on an individual basis for individual wrong doing and it certainly can not be squared with the word “love.”


Yes, we are in a “sea change” when it comes to the way men must treat women – with respect and a sense of equality and certainly when it comes to sexual matters always with an unwavering adherence to mutual consent.

I’m not arguing here that all former sexual assaults or mistreatments should be forgiven or left unpunished. There is an accounting required.

I am arguing that the “punishment should fit the crime” on an individual basis and that  misdeeds or, if you will, “bad behavior” cannot always if ever require the withdrawal of love.

Or what is love?